Analysis shows an increasing number of mayors targeted for recall

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January 21, 2011

by Leslie Graves

A comparative analysis of the frequency of mayoral recalls in 2009 and 2010 shows that in 2010, three times as many mayors were recalled or resigned just before a scheduled recall election than in 2009. In 2010, there were 57 mayoral recall attempts in 19 states, while in 2009, there were 23 mayoral recall attempts in 12 states.

Mayoral recalls are attracting national attention because of the Jim Suttle recall election, scheduled on January 25 in Omaha, Nebraska, and the Carlos Alvarez recall election, scheduled for March 15 in Miami-Dade, Florida.[1][2][3]

In all, in 2010, 15 mayors were either recalled or resigned right before the recall election could take place. This compares to 2009, when 5 mayors were either recalled or resigned right before the recall election could take place.

The trend toward increased mayoral recall activity is also showing up in the 2011's mayoral recalls. As of January 22, 2011, twelve recall campaigns are active. This is 21% of the number of recalls in the full year of 2010 and more than half the number of mayoral recalls attempted in 2009. 2011's mayoral recall activity has already claimed one scalp, the January 11 resignation of Ed Balico, former mayor of Hercules, California, a few short minutes before being served with a "Notice of Intent to Recall." Mayor Mark Romanowski, meanwhile, survived a mayoral recall election on January 11. Although political reporters are focusing on the high-profile recall campaigns being waged in Nebraska and Florida, 2011 is also the year that a mayoral recall election will take place in infamous Bell, California on the March 8, 2011 ballot.


2010 versus 2009

The breakdown for 2010 was:

  • 26 attempts were abandoned
  • 2 were judicially invalidated
  • 1 mayor resigned
  • 14 mayors in 9 states were recalled
  • 14 mayors were retained

The breakdown for 2009 was:

  • 14 recall efforts were abandoned
  • 2 were judicially invalidated
  • 2 mayors resigned
  • 3 mayors were recalled; 2 in New Jersey (Troiano and Sutphen) and one in Louisiana (Hunter)
  • 2 mayors were retained.

See also